Louis Botha

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Louis Botha, circa 1915

Louis Botha (27 September 186227 August 1919) was a South African statesman and general. He was Prime Minister of South Africa from 1910 to 1919.

Quotes about Botha[edit]

  • That the new Prime Minister is a man of remarkable originality and force of character, richly endowed with many of the higher qualities which make a great soldier, we learnt to our cost during the war. But until now we have not known that he also has some, at least, of the gifts of a statesman. He may fail, as others with those rare gifts have failed, for want of the much more commonplace but indispensable abilities which are needed for the daily routine of office; but he has proved that he has the largeness of mind which, rising above the trivialities of the day, can discern and grasp the vital factors of the future. No smaller man would have spoken with the daring candour that marks his speech. ... He spoke as the representative of the great united nation. That is the ideal of a statesman – an ideal which throughout the long struggle with General Botha and his gallant countrymen was held up to us constantly as the true goal of our efforts and our sacrifices by the men who were most resolutely bent on overthrowing the old Boer oligarchy as an insuperable barrier to its accomplishment.
    • Quoted from General Botha and some members of the Transvaal Parliament, opened yesterday at Pretoria: The Premier, The Times (15 March 1907), reprinted in The Sphere, p. 250 (23 March 1907)
  • Following the Boer War came a sharp cleavage among the Boers. That great farm-bred soldier and statesman, Louis Botha, accepted the verdict and became the leader of what might be called a reconciled reconstruction. Firm in the belief that the future of South Africa was greater than the smaller and selfish issue of racial pride and prejudice, he rallied his open-minded and far-seeing countrymen around him. Out of this group developed the South African Party which remains the party of the Dutch loyal to British rule. To quote the program of principles, "Its political object is the development of a South African spirit of national unity and self-reliance through the attainment of the lasting union of the various sections of the people." ... In the years immediately following Union the genius of Botha had full play. He wrought a miracle of evolution. Under his influence the land which still bore the scars of war was turned to plenty. He was a farmer and he bent his energy and leadership to the rebuilding of the shattered commonwealths. Their hope lay in the soil. His right arm was Smuts, who became successively Minister of Finance and Minister of Public Defense.

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